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Progressive Rock Interviews

Star People

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview With Star People`s Ambassador Randy From 2000

Audio of this interview is available in our members area.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.


The concept of the Star People comes across as great Sci Fi. Is it an original idea or did you draw from an outside source?
Well, it is not an original idea, I suppose, to imaging that people from other planets would be drawn to Earth by the radio and TV signals. It's been in a lot of movies and stuff. It just happened to be true in this case. Of course we get all your television and radio signals in space.
MSJ: Your music is a very unusual mix of sounds. Who do you see as your major influences?
If you asked everybody in the band, you'd probably get a different answer to that. I know our leader, The Teacher, was obsessed with the Dean Martin show back on Kronos, the place that we come from in the 11th dimension. We'd gather at his place and enjoy music from shows on Earth. There is no real creativity outside of the third dimension because all creativity was born from the three-dimensional take on reality which is missing all kinds of key understandings. These misunderstandings created a tension and pain and longing and desperation and fear. That tends to be the catalyst to creativity. We never really created anything until we became three-dimensional. We loved big stuff. I always liked the early heavy rock bands of the '60's and '70's like Vanilla Fudge, Deep Purple and stuff like that - bands like Captain Beyond and big stuff that really pushed. I know that one of our singers is into beautiful melodic harmony type music, and our violin player is into beautiful symphonic stuff. The guitarist and I probably came from a similar background of liking what they would call early prog rock, I guess. So, there's a lot of different influences coming out of there. The drummer and the keyboard player have some jazz experience, which I can kind of pretend I am playing when I am with them. With 7 people it's pretty diverse the places that we come from.
MSJ: It is interesting that you mention Captain Beyond in that I have heard that influence from time to time in your music.
I'll tell you that since we landed on Earth we were able to put together a recording studio for our own productions and we met a lot of people that we used to watch on television and hear on the radio, and we've been recording some of them here. Vanilla Fudge are actually recording here in our studio today. Captain Beyond are touring again right now, with the guitarist and drummer. We're in touch with them and we hope they'll come here to record, too.
MSJ: From our way of looking at it, your band has strong sci-fi ties. Who would you se as your favorite Sci Fi authors?
I guess I like the guys who got closest to the truth. I think Phillip Dick is probably my favorite. I like Borgast, who I don't know if you consider science fiction or not. Stanislaw Len is another. We used to hear readings of the early stuff on the radio like Asimov and Heinlein, stuff like that. Dick and Len and Borgast are probably my favorites.
MSJ: You recently played as an opening act for Dream Theater and the Dixie Dregs. How did that go?
That went great. We've done five national tours now. As we come to these towns now people hear of us a little more. It's all word of mouth now because we haven't gotten the distribution deal, which I think is imminent this winter or fall. These have been pretty naked going out there unheard of with something this different, but the response has really been encouraging, especially on that Dream Theater tour where we were hitting so many towns for the third time. It was amazing. Dixie Dregs was in the middle slot, and they were very nice to us and told us that when bands open up for them they usually get booed off the stage. They were amazed by the response we were getting. We were very encouraged by it. It was a very short set. We played about a 27-minute set, which felt like the Beatles on their first tour of America. We enjoyed that short set so much that after the Dixie Dregs left the tour, Dream Theater said we could play for 45 minutes, and we decided not to. We just kept the short set because it was really working for us, but when we go out with Ozric Tentacles again for the second time - October/November - we'll be playing a longer set 45 minutes or so.  

MSJ: Both of your CD's include a cover of Klaatu's "Calling Occupants". How did that song get chose, and why is it on both discs?
That was one of the first songs we learned. We just love it. It kind of put across the vibe, the feelings, that we had about searching and reaching out to people who are different, and not being afraid and keeping an open mind about people who are so different. Why did it go on the second album, too? I'm not sure. It probably won't go on the third album. Some of us thought it was a good idea. I'm not sure I disagree. I think it fits nicely on the second one. I think the second one is going to have a much wider distribution. We wanted to maybe have a couple of pieces we liked from the first album get a chance of a wider listening.  

MSJ: The second album comes across as much more polished than the first, which was still a very good release.
The first album was put together in a test tube, and the second album was written by a band who had toured the country a few times and were writing more together and had developed a playing style together, instead of kind of creating it as we went along. Also, the studio itself maybe progressed and we listened to our engineer more on how to get the good sounds.
MSJ: What is up next for the band?
Well, supposedly we're going to tour again mid-October/November with Ozric Tentacles. That's the only tour I have lined up right now. We're speaking to some large record companies about getting a distribution deal where we would be able to do our own productions and take care of our own promotion and they would distribute the records for us. That should, hopefully, take things up a notch this coming year.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, and what have you been listening to lately?
I bought, much later than I should have, Jeff Buckley's first album, which I think is one of the best albums I've heard in a long, long time. I tend to get old stuff when it comes out on CD. I'm really not tuned in to the brand new music out there. I go back to the days when guys had old-fashioned kinds of singing styles. I like Glenn Hughes. I think he's one of my favorites, although the stuff on his own I don't quite like as much as the old stuff. I think he's in the process of finding himself again, but he's got a great voice. Andy Frasier from Free came out with a double release of two of his solo albums from '75. This is probably not helping me win any young fans here.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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